Imatges de pàgina

individuals which is sodisagreeable to young men of intelligence and sensibility, converting friends into rivals and opponents, and so often productive of dissension and cabal among the adherents of the opposite parties. And while encouraged by your approbation, and instructed by your example, I hope we shall also be benefited by the counsels and remonstrances now addressed, of which we acknowledge the justice, in reference to our neglect of our children, and sometimes even of our principles. Your severity we accept of as a proof of kindness, a part of friendsbip. Your re. proof is a precious oil, that will not break our head, but rather refresh us. But I am going beyond my commission in introducing extraneous objects; yet a few words more I must add. In reference to the important point, in respect of which the character and authority of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland has been invaded, our proceedings this day have sufficiently assured you of our deep and fervent sympathy. The late judicial proceedings respecting marriage, when celebrated by a Presbyterian minister, bave filled every considerate man with surprise and concern. A rite, or rather an engagement, a covenant, that lies at the foundation of the social union, and of all relative duties and obligations, and derives its sanction from direct Divine appointment, all were accustomed to regard as a hallowed thing, which it would be the height of profaneness to meddle with. Doubtless it is presumption in man to add to the simple law of the Creator, much more to introduce conditions that contravene and overthrow the law. For though it is natural and appropriate for Christian people to connect a union so sacred and interesting with the exercises of religion, we find no Scripture rule directing or limiting us in our choice of these exercises, or of the individual by whom they are to be performed. Strange, that an obsolete statute, which had been suffered to sleep in oblivion for centuries, should be revived in this age, for the purpose of invading the sanctuary of the family, overturning the relation of parents and children, and unsettling the rights, and insulting the honour of a whole population. Strange, if you have indeed been living under a law so intolerant and uncbristian, without finding it out, till surprised by this recent, and, as appears to us, strained and extraordinary interpretation of it, so contrary to constitutional principles, that we cannot help thinking that Judges have stept out of their course in imposing it upon either statute or common law. And certainly there is great reason to complain of the injustice of not at once sanctioning, by the immediate protection and authority of law, what has been so long honourably practised, and cannot be invaded or overthrown without the most injurious aggression; for unquestionably public morals and right feeling are more essentially violated by the existence of such a law, than law itself could be by submitting and subordinating its claims to the decrees of nature and of God. I certainly feel al. together unqualified to give a legal opinion on the point. Many strange things are done under colour of law, and even under its sanction. But, speaking on the impulse of natural feeling, I should have said that no Judge, or bench of Judges, should have entertained the question,-no government should have permitted the agitation of it.

Into the grounds of the Irish Presbyterian Church's quarrel with the Episcopal Church of Ireland, we are not called to inquire ; yet I would say for myself, and I think, I may add, most of my brethren, that its reformation would be more acceptable to us than its destruction. But into that subject I must not enter. As to the validity of the Presbyterian ordination to constitute the ministry of Christ, you need no assurance on that point. You derive your ordination from our first Reformers ; farther back it is unnecessary to go. Why quit the green pastures and still waters of the reformed Church, to link ourselves with the arid wilderness and muddy troubled streams of an anti-christian apostate community? We wel. come you as brethren in the Lord. We render you our thanks, and beg you to con. vey our most grateful acknowledgement to the munificent benefactor, wbose generous donation you have conveyed to us. May the Master's presence be with you, and bis blessing rest upon you; and you shall go on and prosper, strengthened by opposition, purified by affliction, perfect in every good work by the very trials to which you are subjected.

A Deputation was appointed to visit the Irish Assembly.
The Assembly then adjourned till Monday, at eleven o'clock forenoon.


Assembly met-Synod books--Special Commission discontinued, and Commission of Assembly agreed

to-Jewish Report-Translation of Mr Thomson and Mr Fairbairn refused--Dr Cunninghain's speech on his return from America-Report on application from other Churches for admissionCommittee appointed to report on the formula.

The General Assembly of the Free Church met again this day at twelve o'clock, and was constituted with praise and prayer and reading of the Scriptures.

The books of several synods baving been called for, and the propriety of having them early before the Assembly pressed upon the clerk,

DR CANDLISH proposed that the Assembly should come to some resolution in reference to the powers of the commission. He presumed that it would not be necessary this year to appoint a special commission, as the necessity for that bad now ceased. For some years previous to the disruption, a special commission was necessary, in consequence of the circumstances of the Church at that time. It was also necessary this time last year to appoint a special commission ; but he took it for granted that these circumstances being now changed, and the Church fully organized, the Assembly would revert to the old practice, and have the ordinary commis. sion, to meet at ordinary stated times. It was important, however, that the powers of the commission should be defined, and that an act for this purpose should be prepared with great care. He did not mean that there should be any new powers conferred on the commission, or that there sbould be any innovation upon the constitution of the Church in this matter, but that the powers of the commission should be carefully defined ; and he moved the appointment of a small committee to prepare an act for this purpose.

The motion was adopted, and a committee named in terms thereof.

The MODERATOR, as convener of the committee appointed to fix upon an individual to address the house and conduct their exercises on the day set apart for humiliation and prayer in reference to the state of religion in the land, stated that the committee bad selected for this duty the Rev. C. J. Brown of Edinburgh ; and that the services would commence at eleven o'clock.

MR MILLER of Monifieth gave in the report of committee on the alteration of the constitution of Mariners' Church, Dundee, to the effect that the committee recommend tbe required change to be made, with one slight and unimportant exception.

The Rev. Moodie STUART read the following report of the committee on Jewish
Missions :-

“ It is an easy and a joyful task for a committee, when they are called upon, not so much to narrate their own efforts, or the labours of men however devoted, as to record the wonderful works of God. Eighteen centuries ago, 'they of the circumcision which believed were astonisbed, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gifts of the Holy Ghost.' The conversion of the Gentiles created astonishment in Israel, but it likewise caused great joy unto all the brethren,' and they glorified God saying, then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. There was ground for astonishment when we, who were branches of the wild olive,' were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree ; but now the natural branches have lain dead so long, that we of the uncircumcision marvel to see them grafted into their own olive tree. With our wonder, let us mingle holy joy in their salvation, as their fathers did in ours; and let us also glorify God because Jesus is exalted a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance unto Israel and forgiveness of sins.

“ The committee will lay before the Assembly a brief account of their different stations, and

1. Pesth. " The first-fruits of the mission at Pesth are recorded last year, in the conversion both of several individual Jews, and of an entire Jewish family; and this whitening

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unto harvest has not proved like the grass upon the house-tops, wbich withereth before it groweth up, but from time to time the mower has been filling his bands, and be that gathered sbeaves his bosom. While the tidings which gladdened the Assembly of last year were on their way, the work was rapidly progressing, so that the first Sabbath that shone in Scotland on our beloved Church, delivered from the yoke of Egypt, shone also in Hungary on a little company of the children of Israel, eating no longer of the paschal lamb, but partaking of the Holy Supper of the Lord. The church in Pesth numbered on that day sixteen Jewish converts, with whom their Gentile brethren, though small in number, were mingled at the sacred feast, and the little tlock of converted Israelites bas since been more than doubled. Your committee believe that never has the God of Abraham vouchsafed his blessing so manifestly on any Gentile mission to Israel, except in circumstances presenting no worldly obstacle. Conversions have bitherto been chiefly of detached individuals, and although in the aggregate these have formed a large number, the cases do not appear to have been very numerous in which the grace of God has been exceeding abundant with faith and love wbich are in Christ Jesus.' But in Pesth there has been formed a small community of Jewish believers, walking in the fear of God, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost,-living in singular simplicity and godly sincerity,—striving to keep their consciences void of offence toward God and toward men,- searching the Scriptures daily,-growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ,- watching unto prayer,-praying with and for each other,resorting to prayer, or rather to God in prayer, in every difficulty or difference of opinion, and abounding in love one toward another, and toward all men,-a community in which Gentile Christian ministers and their families have found it joyful and refreshing to dwell; and of which missionaries from distant lands, and other churches, have testified that tbey had nowhere seen such a copy of the primitive and apostolic church. Their pastors have said that, in their intercourse with them, they have found themselves walking through the book of the Acts of the Apostles,' and that in reading along with them the epistles to the churches, it seemed as if these bad been letters received by that morning's post.'

“ The Jews of old were, through the Gentiles, 'provoked to jealousy by them who were not a people,' and these works of the Lord are obviously designed to provoke a holy jealousy in us, that we may not be found bebind those who lately. were not a people, but are now the people of the living God,' and that those to whom we have sent the gospel may not rise up in judgment against us with that very gospel which we gave them.

The details of this mission are already so fully before the public, that the commit. tee will add only this remark, that these things have been, under God, the result quite as much of the lives of the missionaries and their families, as of sermons preached, and that the ear of the inquirer was not more attentive to their words, than bis eye was watchful of all their ways. They must, however, refer briefly to accounts recently received, which state that Mr Saphir's conversion is creating great sensation and inquiry among the Jews in Pestb, who know that, as a Jew, he was remarkable for bonesty and wisdom, and wbo cannot believe that, in becoming a Christian, he is either a deceiver or deceived. The Scriptures are read by them with avidity. Christianity bas become a subject of study and conversation in their own bouses, and the missionaries find themselves too few to overtake the inquirers. There had been about ibirty baptisms previously, and on a recent Sabbath there were five more, old and young, baprised in the presence of a large number,-it is said of hundreds of their brethren. At such moving among the dry bones we may well marvel, saying, • When was it so seen in Israel ?" The minister of ibe Reformed Church of Hun. gary, who officiated on the occasion, seems to have become a living minister of the Word of Life, the restoration of Israel thus already proving life from the dead to tbe Gentiles,

“ Dr Duncan, who was recalled from Hungary in the end of last summer to occupy the chair of Oriental Languages in the college of the Free Church, sets out again immediately for Pesth, where he will remain till his duties in Edinburgh require him for next winter. In addition to his own family, he is accompanied by Miss Jack.

son, who is sent at the expense of the Female Associations of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and will, it is hoped, prove a valuable acquisition to the Mission. On account of Professor Duncan's leaving Scotland, the Committee agreed to recommend the Assembly to appoint Dr Candlish as convener,

“ It was stated in last year's Report that Mr Wingate had, on account of the urgent demands of the Mission, remained in Pesth at the desire of the Commitee, instead of returning to Scotland for ordination. There being still the same demand for his services, and it being feared that his visiting Scotland might throw a barrier in the way of the Mission, by the possibility of his being on his return refused permission to enter Hungary as a Missionary, it was judged exceedingly desirable that be should, if possible, be ordained in Pesth. The opportunity was, therefore, taken of Dr Wilson's presence in August last, for constituting a Presbytery along with Dr Duncan and Mr Smith ; and after the delivery of the usual discourses by Mr Wingate, and a very full examination in theology, the languages, &c., the Presbytery, with prayer and fasting solemnly ordained him to the ministry. The Presbytery forwarded the minutes of their proceedings to their convener, to be laid before tbe General Assembly, with the request, that Mr Wingate might be received as a minister of the Free Church of Scotland, -- which request the Committee accordingly now make.

11. Jassy. In reference to Jassy, the Assembly are aware, with how little apparent fruits the labours of Mr Edwards, and his assistant Mr Philip, bave hitherto been followed. There has been indeed, from time to time, one applicant for baptism after another, so that Mr Edwards says, he is now engaged with the ninth ; but by and by, when they found that they must take up the cross if they would follow Jesus, they have walked no more after him,--so that bitherto not a single baptism had taken place. But your Committee have now the high privilege of reporting, that as last year there was recorded the first appearance of fruit at Pesth, so to this Assembly there are tidings brought of first fruits at Jassy. The following extracts of a letter from Mr Edwards will be read with deep interest:— Yesterday, Sunday, 15th April, we had the joy of admitting into the communion of the Christian Church by baptism, the first Jew who has ventured, with undoubted singleness of motive, to join himself to us. His case has afforded us most entire satisfaction, and seems an illustrious example of the wonderful dealings of God with them upon whom he has set his love. His name is Benjamin Weiss, the Jew from Gallicia, the begin. ning of whose acquaintance with us is contained in my last letter. It was not our part to choose what kind of a person God would have as the first witness for his name. It might have been, and seemed likely to be, one every way obscure. In this case, however, he has taken one out of the very heart and strength of the Jewish world, a considerable merchant, one of those who visits the Leipzic fair. His story we bave not only out of his own mouth, but from some of his townsmen, and near friends, who visited Jassy,—who, in the midst of their indignation and grief, at the way in which he was, could not refrain from testifying, that not only in their own town, but in Leuberg, and the whole province, he was in the bighest repute as a scholar. He is known personally to some, and by name, I suppose, to all the cbief Jews of Jassy, and we bave already had abundant opportunity to witness bow well able he is to give a reason of the hope that is in him. For several months be. fore he left home to come to Jassy, he was, it appears, in great mental distress and disquiet, finding no satisfaction in his usual engagements; and his purpose, when he left home, was to lose himself in some place where he was unknown, and perish. We adore and admire the grace of God, wbo, having led him bither in bis providence, and directed us to receive bim, has carried forward his own work, and brought bim to receive the truth in the love of it, and fitted bim, we trust, as a chosen vessel to bear bis name in this place."

After mentioning the opposition of relatives and friends, he continues :-“ But all these things did not move him, nor a letter from his passionately fond father, - full of the most tender expressions."

“ At length he requested to be baptized, and the holy ordinance was yesterday administered to bim by myself. We confess the more we have considered the strength of the Jewish body in Jassy, the more distant did the prospect appear of any one being bold enough to face their opposition. The turning of the captivity of the son of Zion, and the manifest hand of God in it, bas made us like those that dream, and we cannot but thank God and take courage. We know that it has made a strong impression, and we hope it will be an effectual one upon the town.”

IIL. Damascus. “ It was stated last year that it was intended to plant in Syria a united mission of the Irish Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland, to be conducted by the Reverend Messrs Grabam and Allan. On the advice of Dr Wilson, with the full concurrence of Mr Graham, it was agreed to establish this mission in Damascus, where these two missionaries are now labouring. They are still acquiring the language, and scarcely beginning to sow the seed; and it will be premature to look for fruit at present; but it is gratifying to learn that there has been a great demand for Bibles, so that their supply has been exbausted. While the Word may thus be silently working its way, there is also a disposition, not indeed to inquire, but to converse ; so that Mr Allan, in his letter of last month, writes, we have still to lainent rather over our inability to speak, than our want of opportunities.' The success with which God has crowned our labours elsewhere ought to ensure our cordial concurrence in a request which he thus expresses- In the mean time, let prayer be made without ceasing for us, and in due time we shall reap, if we faint not.' The Committee regard this as one of the most important of all their stations,—they trust that the Church will unceasingly pray that the Lord may reveal his arm in Syria, as he has done in Hungary,—and they hope that in another Assembly they may have to record also of Damascus, tbat'this man and that man has been born there.'”

“ The sum of L.100 was during the year voted by the committee, and a similar sum by the Irish Presbyterian Church, for the formation of a Hebrew and Arabic library in this city, to assist the missionaries in their studies and labours. For the last three months Dr Wilson has been engaged in furnishing this library with suitable works.”

iv. Constantinople. “ The Rev. Mr Schwartz, whose valuable services were last year stated to have been secured by the committee, having resided for some time in this country, bas now been ordained by the Presbytery of Edinburgh, as a minister in connexion with the Free Church of Scotland. His ultimate destination has not yet been determined, * but whether he return to Constantinople or not, that important station, which is still occupied by Mr Newbaus, will not be abandoned. During the last year meetings have been held in this city three times a-week, attended by from forty to sixty Jews,-many copies of the Hebrew Testament have been distributed, three converts bave been baptized, and five inquirers are now in preparation for baptism. This mission has been deeply indebted to the fostering care of the Rev. Mr SchauffJer, who, though an American missionary, has interested himself in the mission of the Free Church of Scotland, as if he had been one of her own agents.

“ The committee have still their eye both on Bombay and Aden, as most important places, to be occupied as soon as the liberality of the Church will enable them, and as suitable agents shall have offered themselves.

v. Schools. « The committee continue to receive favourable, and, in some cases, very encouraging accounts of the schools under their superintendence. There are now schools for Jewish children in Posen, Bombay, Jassy, Constantinople, and Corfu, the last being connected only with the Female Associations, by which in most of the others, the expense of educating the girls is defrayed. The number of pupils

We understand that since the Report was given in to the Assembly, Mr Schwartz has been appointed to Hungary.

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